Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Sad Passing of Stephanie Tubbs Jones D. Ohio

I was so sorry to hear about the death of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Jones represented the district where I grew up on the East Side of Cleveland, Ohio. Although, I was not living in the area when Jones was in office, I kept track of her accomplishments which were many. They were hard to miss especially when she took on supporting the campaign of Hillary Clinton and before that was a supporter of the Clintons and more importantly was a staunch advocate of minority, LGBT issues and women's rights. She died at age 58 of an aneurysm in the brain. I can only ask why so young? Too many African American women die before they have a chance to even reach old age. I can't help but think of the death of Barbara Jordan who also died before her time. What a shame Tubbs didn't have a chance to participate in the Democratic Convention of 08 as she was pulling for Barack Obama since Hillary is out of the race. Now Feinstein has broken an ankle and I understand she will not be at the convention either. These are two important women who can make a big difference in the way Obama's decision making might go. I am sure both of them were rooting for Hillary to be the Vice President but that will be decided before the convention. However, both women's efforts might have produced some interesting highlights and events around the Clinton experience at the convention. If Tubbs Jones had lived, I wouldn't have been surprised if Obama hadn't appointed Tubbs to his cabinet at some point, that is if he does win the White House but, now, of course that is sadly not possible. Tubbs would have made a difference on that score too as the way Ohio votes is often the way the nation goes and Tubbs' district of Cuyahoga County which has a very large African American voting population as well as Russian Jewish population might make a big difference. It was quite evident corruption of the voting process took place in that district (Republican manipulation of the vote) and Tubbs was investigating and on top of what had gone on and was trying to make it not happen again. Tubbs along with her political ally Dennis Kucinich also from the Cleveland area were early proponents against the Iraq War.


Associated Press Release

In this May 8, 2006 file photo, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, questions the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections during a meeting in Cleveland. Tubbs Jones remained in a hospital Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008, a spokeswoman said. No other information was released. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
©2008 Google
US Rep. Tubbs Jones of Ohio dies after hemorrhage
By M.R. KROPKO – 5 hours ago
EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress and a strong critic of the Iraq war, died Wednesday after a brain hemorrhage, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Tubbs Jones, 58, died Wednesday evening of a brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm that burst and left her with limited brain function, said Eileen Sheil, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Clinic, which owns the Huron Hospital in East Cleveland where Tubbs Jones died.
"Throughout the course of the day and into this evening, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones' medical condition declined," Sheil said in a statement from the clinic and Tubbs Jones' family.
The liberal Democrat, first elected in 1998, suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in Cleveland Heights Tuesday night, said Dr. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital. The car went out of control and crossed lanes of traffic before coming to a stop, police said. An officer found the ailing lawmaker.
A brain aneurysm is a bulge in an artery in the brain. It can leak or rupture, causing bleeding in the brain.
Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, had reported earlier in the day that Tubbs Jones had died. That report, citing a Democratic official, was corrected a few minutes later when a hospital official held a news conference to say she was in critical condition.
Tubbs Jones represented the heavily Democratic 11th District and chaired the ethics committee in the House. She was the first black woman to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, where she opposed President Bush's tax cuts and his efforts to create personal accounts within Social Security.
"After making history as the first African-American woman elected to Congress from Ohio, the congresswoman worked to expand the rights of all Americans," President Bush said in tribute. "Our nation is grateful for her service."
Tubbs Jones was a firm supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the primaries until throwing her support behind Sen. Barack Obama in June. She was to have been a superdelegate at next week's Democratic National Convention in Denver.
The Clinton family released a statement saying they shared a friendship with Tubbs Jones that "deepened through every trial and challenge."
"Over the course of many years, with many ups and many downs, Stephanie was right by our side — unwavering, indefatigable," the statement said. "It was that fighting spirit ... that allowed Stephanie to rise from modest beginnings, to succeed in public service, to become a one-woman force for progress in our country."
Obama called Tubbs Jones "an extraordinary American and an outstanding public servant."
"It wasn't enough for her just to break barriers in her own life. She was also determined to bring opportunity to all those who had been overlooked and left behind — and in Stephanie, they had a fearless friend and unyielding advocate," Obama said in a statement.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who also represents Cleveland, was visibly upset Wednesday night when he left Huron Hospital. He held the hand of his wife, Elizabeth, as he recalled Tubbs Jones' energy and spirit.
"She poured her heart and soul into her job," Kucinich said. "She worked so hard and gave everything she could. I'm devastated. Wherever we'd go, we'd speak of each other as brother and sister. It's an incalculable loss."
Tubbs Jones was a passionate opponent of the Iraq war, voting in 2002 against authorizing the use of military force.
Just as the war was starting in March 2003, she was one of only 11 House members to oppose a resolution supporting U.S. troops in Iraq. She said she did so because the resolution connected Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and said Iraq poses a continued threat to the United States.
Neither of those claims had been proved, she said, adding that was why the United States couldn't persuade the United Nations to support an attack.
In 2005, Tubbs Jones opposed certifying President Bush's re-election because of questionable electoral results in her home state.
Tubbs Jones was known as an outspoken, gregarious lawmaker who wore bright colors and displayed her congressional pin on a gold necklace.
She was a fiery speaker who could inspire crowds at political rallies, as she did while introducing former President Clinton when he campaigned for his wife in January in suburban Cleveland.
Tubbs Jones had served as a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge and prosecutor before running for political office.
Addressing the Democratic National Convention in 2004, Tubbs Jones recalled her parents, who "punched a clock day in and day out — one as a skycap, the other as a factory worker," until the day they saw their daughter representing their hometown as a congresswoman.
Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor in Washington contributed to this report.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Armistead Maupin article about The City of S.F. Don't we all agree?

new book by Maupin

article copied from Outraveler online.

Armistead Maupin: The City and the Writer

If there is one modern gay writer who is intimately interwoven with his hometown, it's Armistead Maupin with San Francisco.

The author of the beloved Tales of the City novels (the first appeared in 1978) moved to the City by the Bay at the age of 27 and has never left. Maupin recently presented the world with "Michael Tolliver Lives" (HarperCollins, 2007), featuring for the first time in years characters who appeared in his original books. Matthew Link (who lived for years in the same Cole Valley neighborhood Maupin now resides in) recently spoke with the author about his personal relationship with the city.

It's interesting to see how Michael Tolliver has grown old with the city. Does he reflect your own history with San Francisco?
Yes. It's quite an unavoidable situation as I get older. It would be kind of foolish if I kept trying to write about my characters' youth. I'm deliberately introducing some younger characters so that it's not just one great big circus of geezers, but, yeah, I like the sensation that the characters, like myself, have had this long history in the city. Sometimes I don't even note my own aging until I look at my characters and think, Oh, my God, Brian is 63 years old! Which happens to be my age, but somehow it's far more shocking in one of my characters than it is in me.

For me, living in San Francisco in my 20s was a great way to find myself. It seems like people are drawn to the city to do soul-searching.
They are still and always have been. The city is less involved with your outsides than with your insides, if you follow me. It's not a place that's big on ambition or appearances or money, although all of those things help, God knows. It's a place where you are free to make a fool of yourself and thereby discover yourself. I certainly took that opportunity and worked it to the fullest!

Nearly all of your books are set in San Francisco, and your persona is so linked to the city now. Do you think you would have become the author you are if you lived elsewhere?
I honestly don't know. The whole package was so seamless. My creativity and my personal life and everything else came together during the process of my coming out in San Francisco… For the most part I find the city fulfilling in the same ways I always have. It's so physically dazzling; it has a small-town vibe with cosmopolitan attitudes. And nowadays it's quite simply my home. And something I am so heavily identified with I probably would feel weird living anywhere else.

Do you think in this age of "Will & Grace" that San Francisco still serves the vital function it has in decades past as a gay refuge or gay mecca?
I think we created a prototype of how to function as gay people that has been copied elsewhere in the world -- there's no question about that. Every time I'm in a European country and I see that rainbow flag flying at the end of an alleyway, I remind myself that it was created here by a guy I used to chat with on the street. Apparently it still is [a gay mecca] for a lot of younger people, because they tell me they read my books and then moved to San Francisco because of them. I wish I could actually collect royalties on that! It makes me feel good because it lets me know that my love for the place was apparent in the work.

When I was 19, I saw the movie "Vertigo" and it haunted me and impelled me to move to San Francisco. Somehow, it sums up the beautiful sadness that seems to hang over San Francisco and the city's dreamlike quality.
Like no other movie, it really captures the bittersweet quality of the place and the physical texture as well. Hitchcock used a fog filter, and I think that helped in conveying the notion of what the place is all about. It's kind of soft around the edges -- the waking dream. It's heavily shaped my own work, actually. There are a number of people who fall from high places in "Tales of the City." The movie, for me, is a bit of an obsession. I find something new in it every time I watch it, and that's saying something, because I've watched it many, many times.

Alfred Hitchcock called San Fran the Paris of America --
Let me stop you right there, if you don't mind. [The famous San Francisco columnist] Herb Caen used to cringe over the years at the term "Frisco," but the only one that really bothers me is "San Fran." [Laughs] It's the term that visiting flight attendants use. It's not really a term of affection for locals. It's increased in popularity in recent years, but I cringe when I hear "San Fran." It's just a bug up my ass. We're so protective of the place, the people who live here.

It's true, people really have a deep personal relationship with San Francisco in a way they don't with many other large cities.
I think that's true. That causes other people to refer to us as smug, but it simply reflects a genuine affection for the place. But God knows it's not easy to live here. It's way too expensive; you know traffic is awful; there's a lot of drawbacks to living here. But you're so heavily rewarded by your surroundings in terms of both people and scenery -- and people who are scenery!

Every time I go to visit San Francisco, I nearly cry when I'm leaving.
I'm sure I would too if I were yanked away from it.